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Casey Seiler, Albany Times Union- Arbitration

Feb 17, 2013|

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We have just enough time between now and then to talk about one of the issues in the state budgets something that. I don't think has done a lot of press Casey Siler is with us from the Albany times union. The assembly on Friday embraced president Obama's nine dollar an hour minimum wage hike. They said that's really all the more reason why they -- should move ahead and adopt at the very least the 875. That has been proposed by Governor Cuomo. So that's one thing that's moving ahead in the state legislature. And then another issue that's sort of related if it deals with the expenses that are paid out two different people. There's there's something in the budget that talks a little bit about binding arbitration. The governor wants to change binding arbitration and the amounts that are decreed basically to fire and police unions again Casey Siler is here with us talk a little bit about that. Casey thanks for joining us this morning. What has the governor proposed here. All the governor in the state stated that. Proposed. That binding arbitration. Which is we -- range and it's meant to keep services provided. War accurately predict in negotiations. Broke again with this specific labor class. It's dominated by police and fire fighters. Municipalities have complained that one aspect of the current law which expires at the and I think ended June beginning July. That is often ignored is that the so called ability to hate provision in the -- hate war the the award. That the arbitration. All comes up with the governor's suggesting -- really tribal locking in capping awards under that it delete it provisions. To be at a municipality. In what you referred to as financial distress -- fine did not -- It -- community care municipalities in the top 25%. In terms of its -- tax rates. So that it would you have. If you were among the highest property tax burden on homeowners. Or. At war over the course of five years. You were reserve funds ball in need. 5% as a percentage of your of your total budget on them both of them are kind of are averaged over five years. To prevent any kind of sort of cooking. Now I imagine government's probably like this no. Yeah they did the reasons why. You you can date that they. That they do not like the current -- -- binding arbitration with Peter means that there's a conference of mayors. Said at a press conference they held the capital about a week ago. Is that that third member of the arbitration panel is essentially because these are answerable to both sides. He's essentially answerable to nobody. And that that in in many cases so so that means that municipalities and mayor's claim. You get awards that are out of whack. We at the often very difficult audiences. That our cities and communities facing right now. How many municipalities if this went through how many municipalities do you think would benefit. The governor's office put out -- spreadsheet. It showed. What municipalities cities can just counties. Would be financial distress under current conditions just doesn't necessarily mean that they would. Deep distress. When negotiations begin because of course. That would depend upon. The the circumstances. That obtained. And the arbitrator actually work. But it should believe this is the correct number. 437. Counties including. I'm almost certain virtually every upstate. CD -- any -- buffalo Rochester Syracuse Albany. And you mean it's no surprise larger more urban communities. Are. Currently in fiscal distress -- there's nobody to argue against that they were hoping of course to -- just more money. More -- money in the budget. And essentially out of these. In this budget proposal. Stephanie miner -- securities can now and very strongly worded op Ed in the New York Times. Earlier this week. Think it's -- need much more that it's time were the governor to to get all of the stakeholders together. And come up with with some work on a wide ranging. Solutions real systemic solutions to the problems facing these cities which is in short. That the tax base used to support and to -- -- war in in cities like Albany and buffalo. You guys in many cases well to view or at least Orwell in suburbs. That all our that can can't really be counted on port to support. Yes and very expensive accounts around services and sometimes even suburban services as well. Is there any sense of the kind of savings that they say they'll see. No I mean it's it's really kind of hard that you can't kind of put it dollar value on it. Com or at least I I don't think you can't essentially is a municipality will act. What it what it paid out after its last. Negotiations. With its firefighters and if that was more than 2%. Annually of course modest pension -- it's my health care costs. You could you could kind of -- the -- analysis and figure out what what you might be saved by. But clearly is out at least think that that they would be able to save. A significant amount of significant enough -- -- kind of the ire of public's. Workers. -- build a more Casey about what sort of argument the unions have put forth against us. Like the labor unions involved. Object to is the idea essentially of finding the finding arbitrators that what they say that saudis. What in fact try and and kind of ranged things go their tax rates would be I. -- the fund. The the fund reserves would be kept low in order to essentially guarantee that they would fall under the cap. When he came to Albany to lobby against this proposal. They brought out 2009 report that was put out by portals labor school. That looked at binding arbitration over the course of I think more than three decades. And concluded to binding arbitration had done. What it was intended to view edit add. Caps cops on the beat it kept firefighters and fire houses even during times of difficult labor negotiations. And that in general. The awards had not in high here. And awards were were contract that has it reached through non binding arbitration. What's next does this exist as a bill is a part of the overall budget discussions where does that stand. It's it's part of the budget bill it's one of those things that is. What are the elements of the budget that is not strictly -- dollars and cents issue for the states although of course has discussed -- -- to be for municipalities. But it's -- included in the larger but budget package now next we will see the governor's thirty days and I haven't heard anything. That would suggest that this is going. The ball out where that -- for the reason has discussed but it's one of it's it's one of the elements of the plan that it is like they're counting. Right now their you know there's -- Ayers the the minimum wage proposal that don't in the provisions that don't directly. Back to the states kind of profit or loss directly but the governor wants. See in the budget because he. A large influence over what goes into that document if the legislature. She began around before. The end of march war idea. March and the governor can turn around and say okay first we -- April. We're going to -- a budget extender to keep providing. You know more than very basic services to the state -- giving final package that you could -- that. And essentially shut the state down. Or you can or or you can swallow whole thing the legislature of course would much rather prefer it on time budget. We hear they are able to get out. Get some some of the cake perhaps -- education. Individual politicians like to -- You just mentioned minimum wage as long as you're here a quick update on where that stance. There is definitely going to be negotiation with especially with senate Republicans. But the governor. In in his budget proposed in -- ebony line. It's -- five per hour wage. We know indexing works wage that means it is that if we -- indexed it if we need to go up. 22 -- 3% at whatever rate of inflation on any basis. Business groups Republicans. Our. We area. Raising the minimum wage itself they're very wary about indexing. Of course politicians like to have them -- in increases as the eagle on because of course it is large. Total large negotiating chip they can be used in order. Other debates. Jail all of this has been complicated this week. By president Barack Obama's. Call in his State of the Union Address for 89 dollar federal minimum wage. That immediately. Accepted dominos in motion has my collagen -- reported. On Wednesday. You know the the the state assembly just yesterday Democrat controlled course. Immediately jumped on the presence and magnets that that's a great idea amnesty should move ahead. And and -- away and not -- for Washington says these that we Democrats have changed their proposal. Bumping. Bumping up the 875. And nine dollars we index. With the governors that is you know on the one hand you could today. And maybe it's not as urgent in New York right now because of course you don't wanna be the state. We nine dollar minimum wage when there's -- federal minimum wage perhaps security or Connecticut. As has had a lower wage -- In other words you don't you don't wanna be at a competitive disadvantage the -- governor said on the other. I think he can proceed on both have in the other in pushing for it I'd I think it's clear that there is going to be a rise in the minimum wage. It's going to happen almost certainly the war or as the budget passes it might include -- kind of satisfying senate Republicans. It could be some kind of -- back few Republicans immediate tax breaks for small businesses. Maybe it's a sort of slow roll in did you rate over the course a six month year. But I something something. Let's look at then -- action on either of these expected in the next coming week. Well. We got to basically just some months ago. The legislature. Usually he's here right up until. The deadline because of various religious holidays. They're not they don't need as. Session days schedule. The last week in March which means that were really just about and they are not here next week either. Because of the presidents paper says they won't be it won't be -- And so last week in February which really only gives them. War for weeks that kind of to work this out. The governor of course is going to demand and on time budget and they'll probably. All right very good Casey thanks for your time you're very welcome.